Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center opens in former IMA Warehouse Space

By: Elliott Smith

A building formerly occupied by International Market Access, Inc. (IMA) in Bellingham has found a new purpose: public safety. The Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center (WUECC) was dedicated on July 18, 2014 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Warehouse

The Building that now houses the WUECC was home to IMA From 1997 to 2009.

The building, located adjacent to Bellingham International Airport at 3888 Sound Way is owned by the Port of Bellingham, and was occupied by International Market Access, Inc. from 1997 to 2009.

In 2009, IMA moved to 1465 Slater Road in Ferndale, giving our clients convenient access to Interstate 5. At that time, the Sound Way building was retrofitted by the US Department of Homeland Security for use as a federal, state and local coordination center for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. The Center was closed in 2011, following the conclusion of the Winter Games.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo reached out to the BP Cherry Point Refinery to discuss establishing a new coordination center in the building. Multiple government agencies, including the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County and the Port of Bellingham formed a partnership to open a new Emergency Coordination Center.

BP donated equipment and furnishings that had been used during the company’s spill response on the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, when BP employees from around the country were sent to the Gulf to assist with the cleanup. Furnishings and equipment used in that effort will now go on to have a further useful life at the WUECC thanks to BP. In addition to BP’s support, neighboring refinery operator Phillips 66 donated $50,000 towards infrastructure enhancements at the WUECC.

Emergency Management

Officials cut the ribbon to officially open the WUECC on July 18, 2014. Photo courtesy Bellingham Police Dept.

The WUECC facility now serves as an Emergency Coordination Center. The space includes a large operations room, a communications/radio room, five meeting rooms, and two large multipurpose areas. The size of the facility provides adequate space for 300+ federal, tribal, state, local, private sector and volunteer response personnel. When not activated for a disaster, the facility provides space for meetings, trainings and exercises

More information about the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center is available on their website.

 

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com


Comment: “Crowdfunding” is gaining traction for start-ups and new projects

By: Jim Pettinger

Thousands of entrepreneurs and others are jumping on the “crowdfunding” bandwagon unleashed by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, signed into law by President Obama in April 2012. Quite simply, it allows individuals and small companies to raise venture funds via the internet without the burden of typical fundraising compliance issues.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter.com give entrepreneurs the ability to harness the power of the internet for financial backing.

A great example of a typical project is currently listed on trendsetting website Kickstarter.com. (Disclaimer: this company is one of our clients.)

Although a very recent phenomenon, a good overview can be found in these articles in the following popular business magazine websites (click each to access): Forbes, Fox News and Entrepreneur.

Crowdfunding is clearly here to stay, but a little caution mixed with careful planning is always a good idea.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com

 

Expanded Bellingham International Airport Keeps Costs Low, Welcomes Canadian Travelers

By: Elliott Smith

Overview

2013 was a busy year at Bellingham International Airport (BLI), with 600,000 passengers boarding airplanes. Terminal expansion work recently concluded by the Port of Bellingham has boosted the airport’s capacity to about 800,000 enplanements per year. An enplanment is defined as a person boarding a flight; total annual passenger volume (arrivals and departures) is double that, or 1.2 million in 2013. With a new capacity of 800,000 annual enplanments, Port officials estimate BLI is now prepared to accommodate up to 10 years of growth.

Keeping Costs Low

One thing that was not included in recent expansion work: jet bridges. Larger airports like Seattle-Tacoma International (SeaTac) and Vancouver International (YVR) use elevated terminal buildings and have passengers board aircraft via mobile jet bridges. Those were not included in renovations at BLI and there is no plan to include them in the near future. The reason is cost. Daniel Zenk with the Port of Bellingham explained that jet bridges cost $1 Million dollars to build, and nearly $250,000 per year to maintain.

“We are a low-cost airport for low-cost airlines” Zenk said. For the foreseeable future, passengers will continue to board airplanes at Bellingham International Airport by walking out on the airfield at ground level, and entering the aircraft via mobile ramps. The mobile ramps can accommodate wheelchair passengers, or those needing assistance.

Airport boarding ramp

Bellingham International Airport uses mobile ramps for aircraft boarding. The ramps give all passengers, including wheelchair passengers, boarding access while avoiding the multi-million dollar cost of jet bridges.

 

Airport management at BLI is committed to controlling costs, to keep airlines bringing passengers to the area. “Airlines bring in your customers” Zenk explained, so the airport is dedicated to keeping operating costs low to ensure airlines can continue to operate profitably from Bellingham. One example of this: no overnight aircraft parking fees. Unlike many larger airports, airlines do not pay a fee to park their aircraft overnight at the terminal. Zenk explained that management’s goal is to support the airport by using non-aviation revenue, such as vehicle parking fees.

Baggage & Terminal Expansion

Highlights of recent expansion work include the addition of a modern baggage carousel, addition of an extra boarding gate, and the expansion of the Scotty Brown’s restaurant in the gate area. The expanded boarding area can now accommodate 850 people. The modern baggage system can handle luggage from a Boeing 757, a Boeing 737 and a Bombardier Q-400 all at the same time.

 

Baggage Claim

The new baggage claim carousel at Bellingham International Airport can accommodate three simultaneous flight arrivals.

Allegiant Air flies the 757s to Las Vegas and Hawaiian destinations. Alaska Airlines utilizes the 737 to serve Las Vegas and Hawaii as well. The Bombardier Q-400, made in Canada, is popular on shorter routes for its fuel efficiency, and is used by Alaska to connect Bellingham with SeaTac and Portland. The old baggage system, essentially a slide, was built when smaller planes served the airport with low frequency. With the addition of more flights by larger aircraft, the baggage upgrade was necessary to keep the airport’s capacity in line with demand.

The Digital Airport

Before the recent expansion work, there was minimal information available on departures and arrivals. Now, there are 96 flatscreen televisions displaying flight information and other news. Digital technology allows airlines to share workstations. The fully digitized gates and ticketing counters allow any airline to use any boarding gate or check-in desk. Airline staff simply log in to access their company’s computer network, and the airline’s logo and flight information is displayed on the screens above.

Complimentary WiFi is also available for passengers throughout the terminal.

Airport Departures

96 flatscreens display departures, arrivals and other news throughout Bellingham International Airport

Airport Gate

The Digital Airport. Any airline can use any gate at Bellingham International.

Canadian Travelers

A 2013 survey of 1000 passengers boarding airplanes at Bellingham International Airport found that 52% of those surveyed were Canadian residents. The Port of Bellingham’s Zenk added that there are 3.2 million people living within a 90 mile radius of BLI, many of them are Canadian. “We are more than happy to accommodate them” says the Port’s Emily Tuma, of British Columbia residents traveling out of BLI.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 prepares for departure to Las Vegas. The BLI-LAS flights are popular with Whatcom County and British Columbia residents.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 prepares for departure to Las Vegas. The BLI-LAS flights are popular with Whatcom County and British Columbia residents.

Canadian currency is not accepted for parking fees. The airport accepts US cash and major credit cards. Information about Canadian debit cards was not available as of press time; this post will be updated when more information is available.

Bellingham International Airport

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 prepares to taxi. Destination: Las Vegas McCarran International.

Although international airline service is not currently available at BLI, there are about 1,200 international general aviation (private) flights to the airport each year. The majority of these are private aircraft coming from Canada.

Local Contractors

The Port of Bellingham hired local contractors to complete the recent expansion work. Dawson Construction of Bellingham was the lead contractor. The Port’s Zenk noted that construction activity was held to about $1 Million dollars per month of work during the renovation, because that was the maximum scope that local contractors could accommodate. The Port was committed to hiring Whatcom County firms.

A behind-the-scenes look at the baggage conveyor system at Bellingham International Airport. Recent upgrades included a modernized baggage system, new boarding gate and expanded restaurant.

A behind-the-scenes look at the baggage conveyor system at Bellingham International Airport. Recent upgrades included a modernized baggage system, new boarding gate and expanded restaurant.

Tours

The public is invited to tour the newly renovated Bellingham International Airport terminal. Free tours will be offered on July 19, 2014 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM.

For more information about the tours, visit Bellingham International Airport’s website.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com

 


June 12th Cross-Border Expo Caters to Import, Export, Tourism and Real Estate Investment

By: Jim Pettinger

Visit the website at www.CrossBorderExpo.com for an updated list of exhibitors and valuable “Expo Door Prizes” from vendors, including Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa, San Juan Airlines, Semiahmoo Resort Golf Spa, Pacific Customs Brokers and Puget Sound Energy. The 60+ exhibit tradeshow and trade seminars are FREE admission. Business-after-business networking at 5:30 will feature free hors d’oeuvres and no-host beverages. 

International Market Access, Inc., the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce and the Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa present the second annual Cross-Border Expo on June 12th in Ferndale, Washington.

Cross-Border ExpoThe one-day event will showcase over 60 exhibitors and feature three educational sessions – Doing Business in the USA, Doing Business in Canada, and Cross-Border Real Estate Investment. Vendor exhibits will be housed in the new 10,000 sq. ft. “Event Center at Silver Reef”, and the seminars will be conducted in the adjoining state-of-the-art 150-seat theatre.

The Expo will attract both tourism and business visitors from British Columbia and Washington state for a one to five-day visit.

Tourists will be provided with a variety of suggested visits and tours courtesy of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, and investors will be provided with similar opportunities by local real estate and economic development representatives.

A few exhibit spaces are still available. The “tabletop” setup is simple to encourage networking. Visit the website or contact CBX@UcanTrade.com for information. Attendance at both the seminars and tradeshow is FREE (registration is suggested).

The June 12th tradeshow will be open from 2:00pm to 7:00pm, and will include a Multi-Chamber Business-After-Business Networking/Social in the spacious central portion of the room beginning at 5:30pm. Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade and other business associations from both sides of the border will be represented.

The June 12th trade and real estate seminars will run concurrently from 1:00pm to 4:15pm. Topics will include: Canada/USA Business Travel/Immigration; Business Planning and Taxation; Marketing and Distribution; Customs Clearance and Compliance; Real Estate Investment; and U.S. and Canadian Government Trade Services.

Sponsors, exhibitors and others will provide a variety of “Expo Specials” for visitors, including door prizes, discount coupons, and business tours and visits. Pre-registration for the free admission is requested and advised.

Event sponsors include the Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa, Port of Bellingham, Wells Fargo, VSH CPAs, Print & Copy Factory, International Market Access Inc., Cascadia Cross-Border Law, US Bank, Pacific Customs Brokers, White Rock Courier LTD, KNV Chartered Accountants LLP, The Northern Light (media partner), and Business in Vancouver (media partner).

For information about exhibiting or attending, e-mail CBX@UcanTrade.com or visit www.CrossBorderExpo.com. The Social Media hashtag for the event is #CrossBorderExpo

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com
 


Doing Business in the USA Seminar: Free at Cross-Border Expo ($200 value)

By: Elliott Smith

IMA President Jim Pettinger will be presenting the Doing Business in the USA Seminar on June 12, 2014 from 1:00 to 4:15 PM at Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa in Ferndale, WA as part of the Second Annual Cross-Border Expo.

Cross Border SeminarThe Doing Business in the USA Seminar, which normally costs $200 to attend, will be presented for free to attendees of the Cross-Border Expo. Registration is requested, but is complimentary. Pettinger’s seminar teaches Canadian entrepreneurs how to profitably enter the US market with their product or service, and how to leverage stateside resources available to British Columbia business professionals.

For almost 30 years, Pettinger’s Doing Business in the USA Seminar has helped innovative Canadian businesswomen and businessmen bring their product into the American market. Combining the latest technology and policy knowledge with timeless lessons of cross-border business, Pettinger’s seminar is not to be missed by any Canadian professional seeking to expand their operations to the USA.

Topics covered include:
• USA Marketing
• USA Distribution Logistics
• USA Business Identity
• Immigration and Travel Info
• Taxation and Business Planning
• Customs Clearance
• Legal/Business Formation
• And more

Seminar attendees will get the full benefit of Pettinger’s nearly three decades of experience in cross-border business, including “dos and don’t’s” and common mistakes to avoid when expanding to the USA.

The seminar will not be offered again until November 2014, and will cost around $200 CAD at that time. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn best practices for expanding your business to the United States. Register and attend the Doing Business in the USA Seminar at the 2014 Cross-Border Expo!

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com


How does Chinese New Year Impact North American Business?

By: Elliott Smith

Import from China To USAIt’s a busy time of year at IMA, both for Christmas/holiday orders, and for the buildup towards Chinese New Year. That’s right, Chinese New Year. The New Year celebrations in China have a huge impact on international commerce. At IMA, our core business has always been helping Canadian entrepreneurs market and distribute their products profitably in the United States. A growing part of that business means helping Canadian businesses import directly from China to the USA.

A little-known fact of working with Chinese producers is the surge in manufacturing and export that accompanies the run-up to Chinese New Year. Many Chinese factories shut down for several weeks, during Chinese New Year celebrations. The Chinese New year celebrations, also known as the Spring Festival, will begin on January 31, 2014. According to Travel China Guide, the festival lasts almost half a month.

The Chinese factories that shut down entirely for the period of the festival often precede this idle period with a run-up in production to meet orders in North America and around the globe. IMA’s Operations Manager Terry Dickey says that one of IMA’s clients is currently receiving double the amount of inventory they customarily import, in preparation of the Chinese New year manufacturing hiatus.

With almost 30 years of international commerce experience and 20,000 square feet of warehouse space, IMA is well-equipped to help North American businesses accommodate the surge in production that precedes the Chinese New year manufacturing shutdown. If your business is looking for a reliable partner to help with USA warehousing and fulfillment, in preparation for Chinese New Year, or year-round, call the logistics experts at IMA at 360-380-6900.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com


Low Loonie a Possible Boon to Canadian Exporters

By: IMA Staff

Loonie

The falling Loonie could be good news for BC Exporters. Business in Vancouver reports that manufacturers and exporters in the province might find the decreasing value of the Canadian dollar to be welcome news.

According to Business in Vancouver:

The Canadian dollar has been sliding since mid-October, which could benefit British Columbia’s manufacturing and export industries in the immediate term, according to the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

On Wednesday (December 4, 2013), the dollar dipped below US$ 0.934, marking its lowest level since May 25, 2010.

“Given that we are an exporting province, that could be a good thing,” said Marcus Ewert-Johns, vice-president at CME’s B.C. division. “Usually a lower Canadian dollar is good for exporters, as the foreign buyer has greater purchasing power.
 
Read the full article on Business in Vancouver here.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com

Comment: U.S. Thanksgiving weekend is a big deal

By: Jim Pettinger

Americans are known worldwide as hard workers who take little time off for holidays and vacations compared to others. However, Thanksgiving is a major exception. The holiday itself is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, but the preceding week and following weekend are probably more festive and family-oriented for Americans than is Christmas week in other countries. In addition, the growing traditions of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” only increase the frenzy around the holiday.

Canadian shoppers and businesses that export should take note: First, border lineups will be longer than any other time of year; check wait times before you go at the link on our website at www.ucantrade.com. And second, most non-retail businesses are closed on Thursday, and many provide limited services on Friday. For example, UPS offers no pickups at all on Thursday, and only air shipments by appointment on Friday. Consequently, make sure all your U.S. orders are filled and shipped earlier in the week.

The good news is that American internet shoppers will be on their computers for many more hours than usual. In fact, many internet retailers now recognize “Cyber Monday” as a great day to hold major discount sales similar to what their brick and mortar counterparts offer on “Black Friday”.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

More BC Shoppers Visiting Whatcom County

By: IMA staff

More Canadians are shopping in WhatcomCounty. Bargains at new stores like Winco, and existing favorites including Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s and Costco continue to draw shoppers south of the border. Bellingham Herald Business Editor Dave Gallagher reports that Canadians’ shopping trips to WhatcomCounty have quadrupled since 2007.

According to Gallagher

The Whatcom Council of Governments released the results of an interim survey taken this summer of travelers going south through the region’s five border crossings. The survey estimates 310,000 vehicles crossed the border into Whatcom County with shopping the travelers’ primary purpose in July; that’s more than quadruple the number of vehicles during the same period in 2007.

The percentage of those interviewed that listed shopping as the primary reason for crossing the border was 45 percent, up from 19 percent in 2007.

The July survey was done by Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute, which employed Western students or graduates to do the study. The second wave of surveys will be done in February 2014.

Read Bellingham Herald Business Editor Dave Gallagher’s full report here.

 

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

Area Business Professionals Invited to Munro Seminar at WWU

By: IMA Staff

Members of the Whatcom County Business Community and British Columbia entrepreneurs who do business in Washington state are invited to the Munro Seminar for Civic Education November 5,6,7 at Western Washington University.

According to Western Today,

The Munro seminar is an annual program sponsored by Western’s Political Science Department designed to bring students, faculty, business leaders and legislators together to discuss how to build a smarter Washington. Ralph Munro is a WWU alumnus who served as Washington’s secretary of state from 1980 to 2000. He now serves as a member of Western’s Board of Trustees. The talks each morning will focus on technology, higher education, Washington’s business climate, Washington politics and more.

The November 5 10:30 AM session on Washington’s Business Climate may be of particular interest to business professionals:

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 10:30 AM: “Washington’s Business Climate: Too Much Tax? Too Much Regulation?”

10:30 to 11:45 a.m. – Panel with Rep. Chris Reykdal, vice chair of the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee and member of the House Finance Committee; Rep. J.T. Wilcox, minority floor leader, House Appropriations Committee; Paul Guppy, vice president for research, Washington Policy Center; and Andrew Nicholas, senior fiscal analyst, Washington State Budget and Policy Center.

Ralph Munro WWUThe seminar will take place in the Viking Union building at WWU. Area business professionals attending the Munro seminars can obtain a free parking permit at Western’s Parking Office. For more information read the full article on Western Today.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com